Our flight finally reached Lucknow about three hours late last night. Three Indian women and one of their tenth grade daughters greeted us with two bouquets of gladiolas. Bless their hearts, they still wore big smiles and gave me hugs despite waiting at the airport all evening.
The conference began at 10:30 this morning, and approximately 50 women came from various local churches. Remember how I keep saying that flexibility is the key word? Well, put another tally mark on the wall! I’d prepared to teach in English but when the MC used a translator, I knew I’d best switch mental gears immediately. Two gifted Indian women took turns speaking as my translators. It was a ton of fun to work with them, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
The sessions went well, I believe. At the end of the last session, we had an open discussion time with questions focused on each of the three topics covered. I was delighted to see the ladies freely share their thoughts about how they’ve grown in their spiritual journey. I think they could have gone on for at least an hour but we ran out of time.
Harvest House and OM partnered to donate 70 copies of 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women to each participant. What a joy to see these women eagerly receive their own copies of the book!
I think I had my most embarrassing moment of my speaking career this afternoon. The heat here is about 105 degrees F. The electricity surged many times throughout the day, knocking out the air conditioning and leaving us sweltering in the meeting room. One lady gave me a cold Coke before the third session. I opened it while the ladies were singing a song a few minutes later. To my chagrin, the soda fizzed and overflowed all over my lap. There I was, desperately digging through my bag to find something…anything….to soak up the puddle of soda. The only thing I could find was a roll of toilet paper (one carries a personal roll of TP here because one never knows what to expect re: toilet facilities). I cleaned up what I could and got up to speak again albeit the huge wet spot across my middle. Oh well! The heat was good for something—it dried up the puddle while I hid behind the podium! The ladies enjoyed a good laugh when I told them what happened.
After the conference we had a few minutes to wander the street and buy bananas and oranges for tomorrow’s breakfast. On the nearby corner, a vendor sold marigold leis and teeny dishes filled oil and a candlewick. These were used by customers in a room across the street for a certain Hindu ritual performed only on Saturdays. We watched as men and women filed into the little room that held a golden idol that stood about three feet tall. They dabbed red powder on the idol’s face and set the burning candlewicks before it. Another idol sat in the room next door, flanked by two friendly Hindu priests – father and son, I learned.
Watching the idol worship reminds me of Scriptures that describe idols fashioned by man’s hand. Why do human hearts worship inanimate objects crafted by human hands? How does one find spiritual fulfillment by performing rituals on a rock? I’m also reminded of Scriptures that declare God as being above all gods. There are millions of false gods across this land but there’s only one true God – the One who loves mankind and invites relationship with anyone willing to believe in Him.